Current Welsh-McCarthy Lab Team

​David K. Welsh, M.D., Ph.D.

Principal Investigator of the Welsh Lab, Professor of Psychiatry

Dr. David K. Welsh graduated from Stanford University with a B.A.S. in Biological Sciences and Psychology, and went on to earn his M.D. and Ph.D. in Neurobiology at Harvard Medical School. He completed his Internship and Residency in General Psychiatry at Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic, Pittsburgh, and a Postdoctoral Fellowship in Biological Psychiatry at UCSD. Since 2003, he has been on the faculty of the UCSD Department of Psychiary. Dr. Welsh is most interested in studying the autonomy, heterogeneity, and coupling of cellular circadian clocks, and their role in mood disorders. Dr. Welsh is also a Staff Psychiatrist at the VA San Diego Healthcare System mood disorders clinic.

Michael McCarthy, M.D., Ph.D.

Principal Investigator of the McCarthy Lab, Professor of Psychiatry

Dr. Michael McCarthy earned his B.S. in Biochemistry and Psychology from the University of New Mexico, after which he achieved his M.D. and Ph.D. at the Ohio State University College of Medicine. He completed his Residency in Psychiatry at UCSD and his Postdoctoral Fellowship in Biological Psychiatry in the Welsh Lab prior to starting his own lab. In addition to studying circadian rhythms in cells derived from patients with mood disorders, Dr. McCarthy sees patients suffering from bipolar disorder at the VA San Diego Healthcare System.

Takako Noguchi, Ph.D.

Assistant Project Scientist

After earning her undegraduate, M.S. and Ph.D degrees at Osaka University, Dr. Takako Noguchi joined the Welsh Lab in 2009 as a Postdoctoral Fellow. She specializes in the use of bioluminescence and fluorescence imaging techniques to monitor circadian rhythms in SCN neurons and peripheral tissues. Dr. Noguchi was also a member of Steve Kay's lab at USC/Scripps Research Institute

Alessandra Porcu, Ph.D.

Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr. Alessandra Porcu earned her undergraduate degree in Classical and Ancient Studies from the Liceo Classico G.M. Dettori and continued her education at the University of Cagliari with an M.S. in Medicinal and Pharmaceutical Chemistry and a Ph.D. in Neuroscience. She continued on to the University of Basel in Switzerland, where she completed a year as a Visiting Research Scientist studying GPCR signaling pathways. Dr. Porcu joined the Welsh Lab in November 2016, and she has since been studying the effects of photoperiod on peptidergic expression in the SCN in collaboration with the Dulcis Lab


Himanshu Mishra, Ph.D.

Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr. Himanshu Mishra earned a Ph.D. in Medical Research from the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg. His work focused on motor neuron disease modeling using human induced pluripotent stem cells. After completing his Ph.D., Dr. Mishra continued to study stem cells while investigating the role of the autophagy-lysosomal pathway in neurodevelopment and synaptic degeneration. His current work in the McCarthy Lab involves studying the role of circadian rhythm-associated clock genes and the biological basis of lithium-induced neuroprotection in a human stem cell model of mood disorders. 

Valerie Benner, M.D.

Research Biologist

Dr. Benner attended University of Oregon for her undergraduate degree prior to receiving her M.D. from Poznan University of Medical Sciences in Poland. During medical school, she assisted Dr. Ieszcynska, a Clinical Associate Professor at Poznan, in ENT clinical research. Specifically, she contributed to the research project by performing post-surgical evaluations of patients who underwent partial-laryngectomy as well as evaluating patients suffering from sinusitis. Since joining the McCarthy Lab in October 2017, she has taken part in analyzing how the metabolism of antipsychotic drugs interferes with circadian rhythm functionality via action on D2 Dopamine receptors in pancreatic islet cells. 

Heather Wei, M.S.

Lab Manager

Heather Wei earned her B.S. and M.S. degrees in Biology at East China Normal University before completing her M.S. in Toxicology and Pharmacology at the University of Arizona. After holding numerous research positions at the University of Arizona, Merck Laboratories, Isis Pharmaceuticals, UCSD, Anesiva and Hyperion Biotechnology, she joined the Welsh-McCarthy group as lab manager. Her research efforts center on the study of circadian rhythms in skin cells from patients with depression and bipolar disorder, as well as in neuronal cells from mouse models of mood disorders. 

Victoriah Nudell, B.S.

M.S. Student

Victoriah Nudell is continuing on as an M.S. student in the McCarthy Lab after earning her B.S. from UCSD in Biology. Prior to joining the McCarthy Lab in June 2016, she held a position as lab assistant and acting lab manager at the Zuniga Lab, where she studied immune responses to acute and chronic viral infections. Her main focus at the McCarthy Lab is to delineate the genetic trend of L-type calcium channel SNPs in patients with Bipolar Disorder. 

Noelle Ying

Undergraduate student

Noelle Ying is currently pursuing an undergraduate degree in Physiology and Neuroscience at UCSD. She joined the McCarthy lab in May 2017 and is in involved in reprogramming patient-derived stem cells into neurons in order to investigate the characteristics of Bipolar Disorder at the cellular level. 

Samreen Haque

B.S./M.S. Student

Samreen Haque is an undergraduate student studying Physiology and Neuroscience at UC San Diego. Formerly a student researcher with the Delano-Wood and Schiehser Lab, she studied the relationship between mild-to-moderate truamatic brain injury history and left nucleus accumbens volume, as well as associated behavioral trends, in Veterans. She joined the Welsh lab in September 2017 with an interest in examining the mechanism of neurotransmitter switching as it relates to circadian rhythms and mood disregulation.

Angelica Luis

B.S./M.S. Student

Angelica Luis is currently an undergraduate in the M.S./B.S. program at UCSD, where she is majoring in Biochemistry and Cell Biology. After joining the McCarthy Lab in May 2017, she began work differentiating iPSC lines into NPCs. She is interested in studying how iPSC-derived neurons of bipolar disorder patients react to different treatments.

For a list of former lab members, please visit our Alumni page